SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animal magnetism. Caricature of an ass mesmerising a woman. Mesmerism was first practised by the con- troversial Austrian physician Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), who used the technique to treat both physical and mental illness. He claimed to be able to send patients into a trance by his consciously exerted "animal magnetism", their willpower being completely subordinated to his. Mesmer's work drew increasing scorn from orthodox doctors and disappointed patients until he was expelled from Vienna by the police. He enjoyed a brief period of fame in Paris before being denoun- ced as a charlatan in 1785. Some of his methods were later refined under the new name "hypnotism".
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